France and Germany ignore the UK coalition’s Brussels review

Setback for David Cameron.

New Statesman
David Cameron and Angela Merkel at a roundtable meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Getty Images.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president François Hollande, after high-level discussions, have decided not to assist the UK coalition’s review of the relationship between Brussels and EU member countries.

David Cameron had hoped the review will provide the evidence he needs to pursue a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership if he wins the 2015 election, reported the Financial Times.

Hollande and Merkel concluded the exercise saying that it was more about an internal British political debate about the country’s EU membership than a genuinely impartial stocktaking.

A French diplomat said: “This is a British domestic political exercise. We have therefore decided we would not participate.”

A UK government spokesman said: “This is intended to be an open and transparent process so of course we have invited other EU countries to contribute, and indeed several have, along with a number of international organisations. But we recognise others consider this an essentially domestic review and have decided not to so far.”

“We’re regularly working with our European partners to reform the EU to make it more competitive, for example at the last summit the PM worked with Hollande and Merkel to secure agreement that the EU will identify areas where it can withdraw legislation that is no longer necessary,” the UK spokesman added.

Launching the exercise in July 2012, the British foreign secretary William Hague announced a rolling series of studies covering all areas of EU activity.